Leaving the Nest

“Last one to the library is a failure.”

I recently came across an interesting article from the New York Times regarding “Wild Geese” – a name given to the growing number of South Korean children who leave the country with their mothers to learn English in native-speaking locales. Though highly beneficial to learning the language, the restructuring can create great tension within the family and strain long-held Korean traditions. An excerpt:

Driven by a shared dissatisfaction with South Korea’s rigid educational system, parents in rapidly expanding numbers are seeking to give their children an edge by helping them become fluent in English while sparing them, and themselves, the stress of South Korea’s notorious educational pressure cooker.

More than 40,000 South Korean schoolchildren are believed to be living outside South Korea with their mothers in what experts say is an outgrowth of a new era of globalized education.

The phenomenon is the first time that South Korean parents’ famous focus on education has split wives from husbands and children from fathers. It has also upended traditional migration patterns by which men went overseas temporarily while their wives and children stayed home, straining marriages and the Confucian ideal of the traditional Korean family. The cost of maintaining two households has stretched family budgets since most wives cannot work outside South Korea because of visa restrictions.

This is actually quite a timely article, as I one of my favorite and most talented students recently left the academy with her mother so she could study English in Canada. There are more people already considering making a move. Let’s hope – for the sake of my student loans – that they decide to stay.

Link via NYT

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One response to “Leaving the Nest

  1. playin’ favorites eh?

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